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Why ‘Respeto’ earned respect

Tackling social issues and Filipino traditions and culture, Respeto captured the essence of the problems of society affecting the people who are part of it.

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Screengrab from YouTube.

Respeto begins with a crowd cheering in a dim lit place, probably a warehouse somewhere in Pandacan, Manila. Two rappers are introduced and later on engage themselves into a rap battle by exchanging words, rhyme, and rhythm and ends with the rapper with the loudest cheer from the audience, winning the competition.

This establishes the highlight of the film: The art of words, rhyme, and rhythm.

Bagging four major awards in this year’s Cinemalaya, namely Best Film, Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Actor for Dido de la Paz, it is not a surprise that Respeto, directed by Treb Monteras II, turns out to be one of the most outstanding Filipino films that have been produced today.

Hendrix, played by Abra, is an aspiring rapper but due to his social status, he was forced to work as a drug mule under his sister’s drug pusher boyfriend, Mando (Brian Arda), who was up to no good. But despite the circumstances, Hendrix did not lose hope on pursuing to become a rapper and was truly supported by his friends, Betchai (Chai Fonacier) and Payaso (Yves Bagadion).

From time to time, Hendrix together with his friends would go to a rap battle gathering named Berso, where aspiring rappers come together to battle with impromptu verses. Short on cash, Hendrix uses Mando’s drug money to join the so-called gathering. Mando eventually finds out and tells Hendrix to pay him back or else he can’t come home. Desperate, Hendrix asked his friends to help him steal from Doc (Dido de la Paz), an old man who lives at the corner street who also owns a second-hand bookstore, and unfortunately, he and his friends were caught in the act. Unsuccessful with their plan, Hendrix and his friends were asked to repair everything they broke in Doc’s bookstore in exchange they would be free of charge. As the story unfolds, Hendrix and Doc’s relationship develops as Hendrix learns about Doc’s history as a writer and as a Martial Law victim.

One of the things that make this film enjoyable to watch is the humor that the characters show despite its heavy theme. There were scenes where Hendrix and his friends share a conversation about their neighbors one by one being killed because their involvement in the war on drugs, and in those conversations Payaso and Betchai would comment in a way how Filipinos would react despite the seriousness of the subject: Always with wittiness and pessimism. What makes it more likable is that how the characters deliver their lines naturally. Also, given it is a film about hip-hop and rap,what made it more enjoyable are the impromptu rap verses that were written by the cast themselves and the musical score by Jay Durias that made it stand out, as it sets the mood of the film which captivates the local hip-hop scene in the Philippines.

Another reason that makes Respeto as one of the best films produced is its social commentary on present issues in the country, specifically the war on drugs. As told, Hendrix and his friends talk about their neighbors who were killed because of the current administration’s Oplan Tokhang. It also reflected how the war on drugs affected the lives of people in the masses, as for Hendrix, his sister, and her boyfriend, they became drug mules or pushers because of poverty.

What made the film compelling is the use of elements of the old and the new. Focusing on the hip-hop scene in the Philippines and at the same time giving light on local poets and poetry, Monteras showed a different perspective on Philippine hip-hop rap battles by making it in parallel with poetry and the traditional Balagtasan. Also, the relationship between the old and the new was portrayed by Doc and Hendrix, both the embodiment of the traditional and modern. Though at extremes, Doc and Hendrix established a relationship as they learn from each other; Hendrix begins to be true to himself when it comes to his words in rapping as he spent time cleaning up Doc’s bookstore as Doc learns to open his closed doors, despite his past, to Hendrix and his friends. In the context of social issues, the film also showed the current and past issues of the country by paralleling the Martial Law period with the events under the current administration.

Tackling social issues and Filipino traditions and culture, it truly captured the essence of the problems of society affecting the people who are part of it, as portrayed by Hendrix and his friends.

Respeto reminds us of the reality there is for those people in the masses, especially the youth, that there are a lot of them who are undeniably talented but despite their situation, are not able to reach their goals and dreams. They are affected by the actions of society and become products of these problems as embodied by Hendrix and his friends. Not only it concerns the effect of these social issues on the youth, but also how it affected society as a whole. It showed how these people are shaped by circumstances in the society we live in, and how they would respond to it. As for Hendrix, he was affected by the war on drugs that mirrors Doc’s experience during the Martial Law regime which greatly affected him as a person.

Commenting and reflecting Philippine society and culture, I would give Respeto a 9/10 as I consider it as one of the best Filipino films made as it leaves you heavy-hearted, speechless and at the same time enlightened by its message.

by Hannah Arcenal

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Fighting Back, One ‘OK, Boomer’ at a Time

Just like the statement “men are trash,” the phrase “OK, boomer” is attacking a system rather than an individual. It challenges the mindset of the boomers that refuses to embrace change; ones who still cling to discriminatory remarks and outdated ideologies.

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It started as a TikTok meme. Then, a New Zealand lawmaker used it to address a rude comment in parliament.

The youth has often been the subject of judgment because of their tendency to be politically-correct and woke, especially from elders who view them as “overly-sensitive snowflakes.” 

What’s the youth’s response? “Ok, boomer.”

Recently, the phrase “OK, boomer” has been circulating around the internet, and has become the rallying cry of the youth against the older folks and the system they perpetuated over the years. 

The said phrase mocks baby boomers; the generation born between 1946 and 1964. The generation got its name from the huge increase in birth rate after World War II, and is considered as a prosperous time.

The popular use of the phrase circulates in TikTok where it is used to mock elders and their prejudices towards the youth. 

It became more popular when media outlets highlighted the term after Chlöe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old lawmaker from New Zealand was discussing the Zero Carbon Bill, which aims to cut the carbon emissions of New Zealand. In the video, a heckler commented about her age, in which she went off-script to retort “OK, Boomer.”

Netizens also used the phrase to call out the Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin Jr. after cursing out a journalist on Twitter.

“OK, boomer,” later on became a perfect response to the generation on being problematic. An old, rich man complaining about millennials destroying everything? OK, boomer. An aunt of yours mocking your liberal arts degree, commenting on how easy it is? OK, boomer. Some random professor accusing you of being a “dilawan” and red-tagging you because of your Facebook posts? OK, boomer.

However, critics are crying foul over this phrase, with complaints mostly coming from older people. Some even compared the phrase to a racial slur, saying that it promotes ageism and discrimination. Critics think that it’s a below-the-belt attack against the boomers, a foul remark akin to bullying and racism. Well, sorry to say but it’s not.

To set the record straight, the boomers also fought for peace, racial equality and women’s empowerment at their time. What “OK, Boomer” addresses is not the people itself but their outdated way of thinking that is harming our society. 

Just like the statement “men are trash,” the phrase “OK, boomer” is attacking a system rather than an individual. It challenges the mindset of the boomers that refuses to embrace change; ones who still cling to discriminatory remarks and outdated ideologies. It wants boomers to  acknowledge that they have collectively done actions that contributed to societal issues such as climate change and worsening economy. It attempts to shake the narrative, making an older generation acknowledge the voice of the youth, making them act because they have the power and experience to do so.

This meme-worthy clapback is not just a collective sigh towards the problematic views of the old or a funny catchphrase hurled towards killjoy boomers—it is a statement, a call for action, a protest against problematic beliefs and actions.

It is a warning to the older that the kids aren’t alright and they are fighting back, one “OK, Boomer” at a time.

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Films to watch in Cinema One Originals 2019

Returning to cinemas and theaters on its 15th year, Cinema One Originals has launched its roster of films ranging from the genres of thriller, romance, and more! The film festival showcases various stories that will surely make the viewers’ minds wonder what lies beyond the trailers.

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Photo from Cinama One Originals Facebook page

Over the past decade, Cinema One Originals has given rise to a number of films that marked the hearts and minds of the Filipino. Through the artistry and expertise of Filipino filmmakers in cinematography and production, it has already showcased great films which became hit to the public like Imburnal (2008) by Sherad Anthony Sanchez, Violator (2014) by Eduardo Dayao, That Thing Called Tadhana (2014) by Antoinette Jadaone and Paki (2016) by Gian Carlo Abraham. These films have been lauded for its excellence, exception plots, and its appeal to viewers alike. 

Returning to cinemas and theaters on its 15th year, Cinema One Originals has launched its roster of films ranging from the genres of thriller, romance, and more! The film festival showcases various stories that will surely make the viewers’ minds wonder what lies beyond the trailers. So, Hurry up! Gather your friends now and buy your popcorn as Cinema One Originals proudly presents the following films for this year’s festival!

Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo by Denise O’Hara

Photo from Cinama One Originals Facebook page

Relevant to the relationship which the generation engages today, Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo portrays the relationship of two individuals who share sensual experiences and romantic gestures with each other. However, both of the characters in the film do not share the same sentiment when it comes to commitment. In the end, they both part ways in the realization that such intimacy cannot just be shared with just anyone.

Yours Truly, Shirley by Nigel Santos

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

 

After hearing a song by popstar Jhameson, Shirley is convinced that the popstar is a reincarnation of her late husband, Ronaldo. In the film, Shirley is seen to invest time and effort as she obsessively admires the popstar in the event of coping up with the pains and struggles of losing her beloved husband. 

Metamorphosis by J.E. Tiglao

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Metamorphosis reveals not a lot but says so much in its trailer. As it depicts the metamorphosis of a butterfly, there is a teenager in the background showing its life on a daily basis. It tackles the life of an individual born with male and female genitals.  

Utopia by Dustin Celestino

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Set in the dingy and dark parts of the city, Utopia depicts the meeting of a rookie police officer, vlogger, and an undercover agent as they try to uncover the delivery of dangerous and illegal substances. Utopia is about crime, thrill, wit and reality all in a perfect sandwich ready to keep you at the edge of your seat. 

O by Kevin Dayrit

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Pleasant in the forms of the soft sweet piano songs, sleek sofas and white linens, O talks about the story of a beguiled morgue intern Maria who is forced by the vampire Matilda to be a blood pusher and sell blood to other vampires. Twisted and unconventional, Maria is driven to do vile actions to accumulate blood in exchange for knowledge about the creatures roaming in the dark. 

Tia Madre by Eve Baswel

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Tia Madre takes in the form of a middle-aged woman who ardently loves her daughter. However, Emilia, the mother of a 10-year old girl, is a harboring alcoholic who abhors to be called a mother. Her daughter tries to compensate with her mother in the hopes that things will turn back to normal, as it should be.

Lucid by Natts Jadaone, Victor Villanueva, and Dan Villegas

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Ann Cruz is a typical individual who leads a monotonous life. She works a nine to five job, goes home, and the cycle repeats. However, when she sleeps, she is not just the Ann Cruz in her waking life. At night, she is a lucid dreamer who goes on dates and engages in scenarios that favours her. She later on meets a man who challenges her to dream more than she does.

Sila-Sila by Gian Carlo Abraham

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

Sila-Sila is a coming-of-age film that tells a story of a 30-year old man who attempts to reconnect with his past friends and ex lovers in a class reunion. 

The screening of the eight films will run from November 7-17, 2019. Indeed, November is another exciting month for cineastes out there!

Photo from Cinema One Originals Facebook page

For the full list of screening schedules and further details, visit the Cinema One Originals Facebook page or their website regarding the event.

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Binge-watch worthy movies and TV shows this break!

If you are reading this, congratulations for surviving the past few months filled with academic workload to fulfill and conquer! To reward yourself, here’s a list of movies and TV shows that you can watch this school break.

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If you are reading this, congratulations for surviving the past few months filled with academic workload to fulfill and conquer! To reward yourself, here’s a list of movies and TV shows that you can watch this school break.

1. Skins | 40-50 minutes per episode

Photo from Amazon UK.

Genre: Teen-drama, Comedy

Creator: Bryan Elsley, Jamie Brittain

Synopsis: The British teen drama-comedy centers on the tense lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol, South West England as they go through the their last two years in secondary school.

Review: Skins is a nice coming-of-age series tackling different challenges teenagers face, from sex and gender fluidity issues, to drug use and mental illnesses. The series, with its seven seasons, will surely send your time down the drain if you choose to do so.

2. Money Heist | 40 minutes – 1 hour per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Telenovela

Director/Producer: Álex Pina

Synopsis: The “Professor” executes a grand heist that makes a first in history as he targets the Royal Mint of Spain alongside eight criminals.

Review: The story progresses slowly but surely as it shows how the characters grow on each episode. The story is intelligently well-written and delivers unpredictable to make the viewers on the edge of their seats! 

3. The Twilight Saga | 607 Minutes (Combination of all 5 movies)

Photo from IMDb.

 

 

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Director: Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Chris Weitz (New Moon), David Slade (Eclipse), and Bill Condon (Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Part 2)

Synopsis: Based on the series written by Stephanie Meyer, Twilight focuses on the relationship amongst the three main characters: Bella Swan, whose life changes drastically upon meeting Edward Cullen, who is a vampire, and Jacob Black, who is a werewolf.

Review: With Halloween coming around the corner, Twilight is the perfect film to binge-watch and relive major fangirling and fanboying feels. With themes revolving around love, vampires, and werewolves, are you #TeamEdward, or #TeamJacob?

4. The Hunger Games: Trilogy | 548 Minutes (Combination of all 4 films)

Photo from IMDb.

 

Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance

Director: Gary Ross (The Hunger Games), Francis Lawrence (Catching Fire – Mockingjay Part 2)

Synopsis: Based on the series written by Suzanne Collins, the trilogy centers around the life of Katniss Everdeen as she volunteers for her sister, Prim, for the Games. As she continuously challenges the system that cease to exist in each district, Everdeen realizes that there is so much worse games to play.

Review: The films faithfully adapted the dystopian trilogy, never failing to allow its viewers to feel emotions as it depicts Katniss’s journey as the “Girl on Fire” and her quest as a tribute. With its outstanding cinematography and action-packed sequences, Hunger Games will definitely let you experience how it feels to be in the games.

5. Vagabond | 1 hour per episode

Photo from IMDb.

 

 

Genre: Action, Thriller, Romance

Director: Yoo In Shik

Synopsis: After a mysterious plane crash that killed more than 200 civilians, Cha Dal-geun, together with covert operative, Go Hae-ri, initiates to find answers to uncover the truth behind the plane crash.

Review: The action-thrilled Korean series delivers suspenseful scenes and narratives that would make you stay at the edge of your seat.

6. Bojack Horseman | 25 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Animated Sitcom, Black Comedy, Satire

Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Synopsis: The animated series focuses with Bojack, a well known actor who once starred in a popular 90s sitcom, who is struggling to make a comeback due to his growing self-deprecation and his exposure to the materialistic world.

Review: Despite the dark humor and the reference to vices and worldly desires present in each episode, the animated series will make you reflect and sympathize with Bojack and his experiences.

7. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba | 23 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

 

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

Director: Haruo Sotozaki

Synopsis: When Tanjiro Kamado’s family was attacked by demons, Tanjiro embarks on a journey as he becomes a demon slayer in order to help his sister, Nezuko, who turned into a demon, become human again. 

Review: This animated series applauds Tanjiro and Nezuko for their determination to prevent the same tragedy to happen. With its top-tier animation and storyline, Demon Slayer has plenty of scenes to offer for its viewers especially on what is bound to happen between the siblings.

8. Kaguya-Sama: Love is War | 23 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Director: Mamoru Hatakeyama

Synopsis: Both afraid to initiate who will confess first due to their pride and status, Student Council President Miyuki Shirogane and Student Council Vice President Kaguya Shinomiya, strategize on how they will make their move so that one concedes and confesses their feelings.

Review: The story build-up is slow, however, it allows the viewers to fully know the quirks and the real personality behind their icy and intimidating figures.

9. Terrace House | 40 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Reality

Producer: ‎Masato Maeda

Synopsis: Six strangers live under the same roof in order to get to know each other.

Review: Terrace House takes unscripted reality shows to a different level as it makes the audience enjoy and relax on their seats as they get to know their real stories and conflicts.

10. The Good Place | 22 minutes per episode

Photo from IMDb.

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy

Created by: Michael Schur

Synopsis: Eleanor Shellstop tries to change for the better as she realizes that she is sent to “the Good Place” by mistake.

Review: Aside from the good laughs shared by watching this series, The Good Place makes you reflect on your actions through its philosophical themes about the afterlife.

 

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